Aim: What you do before throwing something

Hypothesis: Wasn’t this some half-eagle, half-horse thing in Harry Potter?

Variables: I was away the day they taught this

Materials: What you make a dress out of. Duh!

Method: I think you clean windows with this

Results: Nope

Discussion: But I always get in trouble whenever I’m having a discussion in class!

Conclusion: The End

Just when you get to the fun part in science – lighting Bunsen burners – you have to stop and write stuff. What’s the point?

Science is the best way of telling which ideas we have are useful, and which we should forget. There are really four simple steps to doing science;

  1. Learn what other people have worked out already

  2. Use these ideas to come up with your own

  3. Test your own ideas

  4. Tell other people what your results were

From these steps, we can work together to identify which ideas will lead to ways to cure diseases, travel into space, build mad machines, and solve world hunger. Or at least build the next Playstation.

To sort good ideas from bad ones, we look at how people discovered them. Once, scientists shared their thoughts in letters, and would get together in groups called conferences to talk about them. Then they’d collect these letters into journals and print them up to store away. These days, scientists share their ideas everywhere, at conferences, journals, and in blogs.

But they still need to show why other scientists should take their ideas seriously. That’s why they learn to write up experiments.

You might not plan on becoming a scientist, but it’s still important to know a good idea from a bad one … which is why it’s useful learning the steps to a good experiment.

To help, IntoScience is developing a program called Redi. Following the templates in Redi, step-by-step, you’ll learn how to write up an investigation. If you get stuck, there are hints to remind you what to do. Later in the year, Redi will also feature a list of hands-on activities you can do to demonstrate scientific principles, or to base your own experiments on.

One thing we can’t do is write your investigation for you. But Redi is the next best thing!Hippogriffgif

(Psst, it’s a hippogriff in Harry Potter. Hypothesis is a prediction you can test in an